Vietnamese cuisine holds a reputation for being healthy and flavorful, considering the fact that Vietnamese dishes include vegetables and greens, herbs and spices, meat, seafood, and rice. Dinner meals, for one, always involve soup, rice papers, leafy vegetables, grilled meats, stir-fries, and dipping sauce, all made with flavorful spices and seasonings. Vietnamese cuisine offers an extraordinary gastronomical experience, and if you are heading to a Vietnamese restaurant for dinner, here are some suggestions to make the dining experience worthwhile.
- Ask the waiter for food suggestions. Basically everything at a Vietnamese restaurant is worth trying, but if it is your first time, consider getting suggestions from the waiter. He will tell you all the bestsellers of course. But it is preferable to first go for simple dishes to give your taste buds a quick dry run.
- Look at the description of the dishes. The dish names are worded in Vietnamese, so you need to look at the food description to know what exactly the food is. Pho, for instance, is a rice noodle soup with tiny slices of beef on top. It comes with fresh servings of bean sprouts, basil, cilantro, green onions, lime, and other greens in a platter. Sriracha, Vietnamese version of chili sauce, is also added to the soup for more flavor. You may also find banh xeo in the menu. Banh xeo, also called Vietnamese pancake, is a mix of vegetables, pork, and shrimp wrapped in a rice noodle roll. Ban xheo should be broken into small pieces, wrapped in lettuce, and dipped in sauce before eating. Bun is another favorite at Vietnamese restaurants. It is a rice noodle bowl topped with fresh greens and vegetables and meat. The meat choices include, but not limited to, grilled pork, beef barbeque, and grilled shrimp.
- Try other staple foods. Aside from soups and rice noodle bowls, you can also try other staple Vietnamese foods like goi guon (fresh spring rolls). Goi guon is a good appetizer. It is made from vegetables and meats, such as pork and shrimp, is wrapped in fresh noodle rolls, and is dipped in peanut sauce. You can also try fried spring rolls. Like banh xeo, it is eaten with lettuce and is dipped in fish sauce with chilies, sugar, lime juice, and water.
- Try pot-cooked dishes. Some Vietnamese dishes are cooked in a pot. These traditional cooking keeps the flavor intact, thus making the food sumptuous and flavorful. Try to look for these pot-cooked meals when ordering.
- Order hot tea. Tea is the Vietnamese dinner beverage, so order tea to complete your Vietnamese dining experience. Besides, tea is healthy and helps in digestion.
- Expect the best. Vietnamese cuisine is famous for its artistic food presentation and flavorful, fresh dishes. So as you order and wait for your food, expect nothing but the best.
Vietnamese foods are best eaten with chopsticks, although you can also use spoon and fork. But however you eat your food, you will find that Vietnamese cuisine is truly one of the best in Asia and the world over.